This photo released by the police in Rotterdam, Netherlands, shows the 1971 painting 'Harlequin Head' by Pablo Picasso. (AP Photo/Police Rotterdam)
Sotheby's on Thursday brought paintings by Picasso and Miro to Moscow for what it called its most valuable show ever in Russia, seeking wealthy buyers ahead of sales next month.
The two-day exhibition at a gallery in central Moscow shows paintings including Picasso's "Tete de Femme" with an estimate of $20 to $30 million (14 to 22 million euros), and Catalan master Joan Miro's "Bonheur d'aimer ma brune".
The auction house said the paintings on view in Moscow were valued at a total of more than $140 million.
Moscow has joined a circuit of major world cities such as New York and Hong Kong where the top London auction houses Sotheby's and Christie's bring works for a preview ahead of sales for the convenience of wealthy clients.
The Picasso and Miro paintings will be sold in New York on November 6.
Paintings by Russian artists Semyon Faibisovich and Robert Falk will be sold on November 25 at a specialised sale in London, which Sotheby's said attracts mainly Russian buyers.
The auction house is targeting Russian collectors who are growing in number and are the main purchasers of their national art, said Joanna Vickery, the head of Sotheby's Russian department.
"The reason we're bringing them here to Moscow is that most of our buyers today are mostly based in Russia. And they're very busy. They don't always have time to travel to London for the sales," she told AFP.
"We see time and time again there's love for their own art," Vickery said of Russian art collectors, specifying that 90 percent of them came from Russia or other ex-Soviet countries.